Fundraising Regulator issues warning over charity bag fraud

27 Sep 2018 News

The Fundraising Regulator and Local Government Association have issued a warning to the public to be aware of potentially fraudulent charity clothing collections. 

In a joint warning issued yesterday, the Fundraising Regulator and LGA urged “members of the public to do some basic checks to help them tell a genuine charity clothing collection from a potential fraud”.

Alongside the warning, the Fundraising Regulator has also published a checklist for genuine charity collections on its website. 

The checklist warns the public to “be wary of donating if the wording on the bag has poor spelling, punctuation or grammar” and to “be cautious if the bag collection is for general charitable causes, such as ‘for local sick children’, instead of a named charity”. 

It also informs members of the public of how to report a collection they believe to be illegal. 

Civil Society News has reported on a number of clothing recycling companies illegally collecting bags on behalf of charities in the past. In May, the Children’s Hope Foundation was reported to the Fundraising Regulator over its relationship with collection company Recycle Proline. 

In March it was found that 14 separate companies had been reported for carrying out unlicensed commercial clothing collections on behalf of different charities in the borough of Runnymede alone. 

Stephen Service, policy manager at the Fundraising Regulator, said: “The public need to feel confident they’re giving to legitimate collectors. This advice will help them to be certain they’re donating to a good cause.”

Simon Blackburn, chair of the LGA’s safer and stronger communities board, said: “It's unacceptable that some unscrupulous individuals try to take advantage of people's desire to support good causes by collecting donations without passing the agreed proceeds to charity.

“Councils are doing all they can to ensure that doorstep collections of clothes and other goods are only undertaken by those who have been vetted and licensed. However, anyone who suspects a fraudulent or unlicensed collection should make their council aware of this so it can be followed up. 

“If in doubt, residents should consider taking donations directly to nearby charity shops.”

The Fundraising Regulator’s collections guidance and checklist can be read on its website here

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